The Mississippi in the Civil War Message Board

Re: 9th Battn Sharpshooter Deserter

Jamie, I did receive the CD, but haven't had a chance to dig into it. Thanks. I know this story is a long shot, but it seems possible. There are three listings for Ford; William, William F. and William T. Don't know if they are all the same man or not and certainly do not know if he went to the yankees or was hung.

The following is taken from the unpublished manuscript of the regimental history of the 7th Regiment Mississippi Infantry, "Lest We Forget-The Immortal Seventh Mississippi” by Ron Skellie. March 16, 2007:

"Nov 21st
Lee’s Corps most likely camped at Pruitt’s Mill located on Shoal Creek near the Alabama and Tennessee border between the roads that Lee and Stewart’s Corps were to take. Hood had told Lee that Stewart would be on the Lawrenceburg road that connected to the road that Lee was to follow at Pruitt’s Mill. The 30th Miss. would camp at Wayland Springs and witness the hanging of a man named Ford and the passing of Forest’s cavalry.
“Prewets Mills. March 12 miles, Wayne County. Camp at Wayland springs. Cold & Snow. Pass cavalry. Ford hung at 5 P.M. Get persimmons. See Forrest at Spring.” ["Oh, For Dixie!", “William Van Davis Diary” 30th Miss.; Joe & Lavonne Ashley] (WVD)
Forrest along with Chalmer’s Cavalry Division advanced in front of Lee’s Corp on country roads. Lee’s Corps. advanced toward Henryville by way of Wayland Springs, West Point and Kelly’s Forge. Abraham Buford’s and Red Jackson’s cavalry led Stewart’s Corps on the road about 10 miles east of the Lawrenceburg road. Hood, his staff and Cheatham’s Corps traveled northwest toward Waynesboro.

Nov 22nd
As the men camped the snow continued and the temperature dropped steadily with the night turning clear and very cold.
“Clear & Cold. Am sick, take pill. March at 10 a.m. Fine snow falling. Orders read, march seven miles. See 5th Miss. Cavalry [Rucker’s Brigade, Chalmer’s Division of Forrest’s Cavalry Corps]. Cross Shoal Creek at West Point. Cold am very sick. Hiram gets a Hog. See boys of 5th [Miss. Inf.].” (WVD)

Nov 23rd
“Clear & cold. [No] rations. M[ar]ch at 8 a.m., 10 miles. Camp by pretty creek, cliffs & Shoals, Laurense County”. “[See] Green Bamboos [and] fine chestnut timber. Cook pumpkin, no Salt. Bread Scarce. Country sparsely settled. Forrest captures Lawrenceburg.” (WVD)
The “pretty creek” is possibly Granddaddy Creek. Chaplain John Gardiner Richards, 10th SC, Manigault’s Brigade, Johnson’s Division of Lee’s Corps. mentioned in his diary on November 23rd that his brigade camped at “Granddaddy Creek”. Source: "Oh, For Dixie!", Joe Ashley.

Nov 24th
Deserter Captured —Former Sharpshooter
In a post war reminiscence Nathaniel S. Wilkinson of Co. K 44th Miss. tells that in November of 1864 the federal cavalry “would drop down the river in small boats for the purpose of destroying the Pontoon Bridge. They were generally captured; among them was one who had belonged to the sharpshooters of Tucker’s Brigade. The authorities were preparing to ship the prisoners off for safekeeping…”
One of these captured men while passing through the lines heard that “Tucker’s Brigade” was in the area. He admitted that he had once belonged to “Tucker’s Brigade” and was in the Sharpshooters. A scout for the 9th Battalion Sharpshooter’s, Bob Keith, formerly of Co. C 7th Miss. recognized the man. He had deserted and now was a Lt. in the U.S. Cavalry. He thought that he would be safe because of his rank, instead he was convicted of desertion and condemned to death.
Wilkinson then described the event. “The Brigade was formed into a hollow square, and, while we stood at ‘parade rest’, the Brigade Band, with the doomed man following. Marched up and down between the columns, playing the ‘Dead March.’ It was snowing. When the march was finished, the man was placed upon a wagon, that was driven under an oak tree, a rope was tied around his neck and to a limb above him, and the wagon moved off. Such was fate.” NSW
Though we have not verified the date or name of the deserter, we know that members of Brantley’s Brigade witnessed a hanging of a man named Ford on Nov. 21st, but we can not verify if he was in fact the former Sharpshooter, Ford. The dates are within a few days when we compare the 30th Miss. report and Nathaniel S. Wilkinson’s report. There was at least one man in the 9th Battn. Miss. SS named Ford.
The Tucker Brigade Sharpshooter is possibly William T. Ford Lt. Co. K 12th Tenn. Cav. U.S. [Will need records search.] The 12th Tenn Cav. was organized in Aug. 1863 about the time that many men deserted from Tucker’s Brigade on the Tennessee River at Bridgeport. The 12th Tenn. Cav. was in the “Nashville Campaign November-December. On line of Shoal Creek November 5-20. Campbellsville and Lynnville November 24.” [NPS Soldiers and Sailer’s System.]

End Notes:
Wilkinson, Nathaniel S. Pvt. Co. K 44th Miss.; the son of Micajah W. Wilkinson and Jane Stokes Wilkinson and the grandson of Stephen Wilkinson my Grgr uncle-RJS; Nickname possibly “Tannie”

Keith, Robert Pvt. Co. C 7th Miss. Inf.; Co. C 9th Battn. SS. Assigned to the Sharpshooters as a scout. Survived the war and lived a long life.
Ford, W. T. Co. C 9th Battn. Miss. SS, [Ford, William Co. C 9th Battn. Miss. SS, Ford, William F. Co. C 9th Battn. Miss. SS ; Probably same man. NPS Soldiers and Sailer’s System. ]

“March 8 ½ [a.m.] Columbia road. C[lea]r [&] [c]old. March 18 mil[es]. Pass through H[enryville] in Laurence cou[nty].[Ve]ry tired. Get ___[yams?] and no salt. Country generally f[la]t & poor. ” W.V.D.

Nov. 25th
General Lee camped on the Columbia Pike northeast of Mount Pleasant, Cheatham camped about 5 miles south of Mount Pleasant, Stewart remained in Henryville while Hood set up headquarters at Mount Pleasant. According to the capsule history of the 7th Miss. by Dunbar Rowland the 7th and Sharp’s Brigade moved to Columbia,Tenn.
Nathaniel S. Wilkinson of Co. K 44th Miss. states that on the day after the hanging of the former Sharpshooter, ‘…we moved on in the direction of Columbia, Tenn.. When we got there, the Federals were just across the Duck river. Their presence impeded our progress for a few days.” NSW"

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